Chesnutt's Works





Site Info

The goal of The Charles Chesnutt Archive is to make works by and about Chesnutt readily and freely accessible to scholars, students, and general readers.

One of the most important African American writers working before the Harlem Renaissance, Charles Chesnutt was born in 1858 in the North but grew up in the South where he attended a North Carolina school funded by the Freedman's Bureau and where he witnessed the end of Reconstruction and the limited but important political gains Reconstruction had made possible for African Americans in the South.

Early in life Chesnutt decided to devote himself to becoming an author, and after several years as a teacher in North Carolina normal schools, he visited New York in 1879 hoping to find an entree into an elite literary world. In 1883, he settled in Cleveland and he began publishing stories in the Atlantic Monthly and other literary magazines. By 1901, Chesnutt had published three novels, one biography, and two collections of short stories, and by his death he had published over one hundred stories, essays, reviews, and poems. His oeuvre represents a magnificent achievement in American letters, and he was the first African-American fiction writer to see his works reach a national audience.

A recent renaissance in Chesnutt studies has made some of his published and unpublished works available in modern editions, and several etext libraries include selected works. But there is no comprehensive digital archive for Charles Chesnutt, and that is the goal of this site. Currently, the site offers thirty six stories, seventeen essays, one novel, one biography, three poems, and five reviews by Chesnutt. In addition, the site offers over three hundred reviews of Chesnutt's works and other essays and notices about Chesnutt. The Archive will continue to grow and change always with the goal of providing a comprehensive digital collection of Chesnutt materials and a collection that meets the evolving standards for electronic scholarly archives.

The Archive was originally created by Stephanie P. Browner, and is now edited by Stephanie P. Browner (The New School), Kenneth M. Price and Matt Cohen (University of Nebraska–Lincoln). Assistance has come from Mike Freiermuith, Berea College students, the Hutchins Library at Berea College, the Charles Chesnutt Collection in the Fisk University Library's Special Collections.

We have obtained permission whenever possible to use or reproduce images and text. We would be happy to make changes if informed of inappropriate use or copyright infringement. Please contact, Dr. Stephanie Browner ( at Berea College, Berea KY, 40404.

This is an educational and scholarly site and the material here is the result of the hard work of many people, including students, professors, and librarians, and many have volunteered their time and labor. We request that material on this site not be reproduced without permission. All material from Fisk appears here by permission, and should not be reproduced without direct permission from Fisk University Library.

Special thanks to: Mike Freiermuth for extensive contributions to many sections of the archive, to Mark Ellison for the initial web design, to Steve Gowler for help in the Berea Hutchins Library, to Beth Howse for generous help in the Fisk University Library Special Collections. For funding support, we thank The Office of the Provost, Black Studies Advisory Committee, General Education, and Hutchins Library.

Current site design by Matthew Thompson, 2001.

This site maintained by Stephanie Browner.